Hundreds of shoppers flocked to a new-look charity shop when it opened its doors on Monday following major refurbishment.
The ribbon at St Nicholas Hospice Care’s shop in St John’s Street, Bury St Edmunds, was cut by Canon Richard Norburn, who founded the charity 30 years ago.
He said: “This is different to any other charity shops and different to anything we at the Hospice have done before. It really is something special.”
The store had been closed for three weeks for the makeover, which has seen the interior transformed into a cosy ‘home’. New flooring and lighting have been installed throughout, with previously hidden brickwork exposed and redundant entrances closed off.
The interiors are the brainchild of interior designer Marianne Nielson, who has previously worked with large retailers including M&S and smaller independents.
She said: “All the volunteers have been excellent and have worked so hard. One of the main aims was to give the shop a bit of soul, so I thought I would make it look like a home. We wanted to make it feel warm and welcoming because the shop is about charity, and the hospice is warm and welcoming. I wanted to bring that essence into the place.
“We wanted to make it practical for the customers and the volunteers who are working here. The volunteers have really embraced it.
“We had a very tight budget to work with, but at the same time wanted to make this a flagship store.”
A light and airy ‘entrance hall’ greets customers as they enter, menswear is now in a ‘library’ area, while entertainment items are in a reading room and ladieswear and accessories are in the boutique.
“I have tried to design the spaces very clearly,” said Marianne. “It has been a balance to ensure all ages feel comfortable in the shop. I didn’t want it to look too trendy, so we have mixed upcycled furniture donations with playful touches, like the accessories wall.”
Volunteers at the shop have spent the past few weeks helping to source suitable furniture from items donated to the hospice. A team also worked on modifying, painting and upholstering a seating area.
Linda Sadler, shop manager, said: “The table we have in the boutique area was donated to us by one of our volunteers, who is also our landlady. It is 100-120 years old and was custom-built for this shop to be used as a cutting table in the 19th century. It is lovely to have it back here.
“We have had a very positive reaction to the new look so far.”
Ian Daniels, hospice head of retail, said: “This is our flagship shop, but we want all of our shops to look this good.
“Thanks must go to all the volunteers, Linda and her other half, Fred, for all the hard work, time and effort they put into transforming the shop. Everyone has put a lot of love into it.”
The shop is open 9.30am-5pm Monday-Friday and 9.30am-4pm on Saturdays.